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Greg & Karen's Life Adventure Karen and I, in love, in life ; following our bliss

Freedom - Leaving the Diner (to Wellington)

NEW ZEALAND | Thursday, 18 November 2010 | Views [646]

Karen and Greg at Ines and John's - glad to be on the road!

Karen and Greg at Ines and John's - glad to be on the road!

Diner to Taupo: It was 30th October 2010.  We had finally left the Diner, a day later than planned, with the car packed to the roof; we halted at the exit and filmed this momentous occasion – at the very point in time we had envisaged for so long. With a whoop and a holler, we turned right and headed to `adventure’. That was such a good feeling!

 First stop was the car ferry at Opua – over the sea to Okiato, and a delightful time with good friends John and Ines. We made another nostalgic visit to past haunts in Russell and with a tinge of sadness, pressed on southward. 

Taupo to Wanganui:  We spent a lovely evening with Jasmine and Robert in the serene grounds of the Houchen Retreat in Hamilton and travelled to Taupo next morning for 2 day meeting of Karen’s ISOUL coaching group. Karen was so excited to reunite with her team-mates Bernadette, Collin, Jasmine, Jenny and Judy and luxuriate in their verve and passion for life. Weather was beautiful and Taupo as picturesque as ever.

With fond good-byes, we moved on to one of our favourite towns, Wanganui, where one of the group, Jenny, had invited us to stay with her and husband Mark. Our time here was limited but we managed to catch up with two un-associated sets of old friends, Beth & David and Mary & Stewart, who of course, all knew each other, as well as our hostess. So, delightfully, we have many good friends to visit in Wanganui when we return.

We had many memorable moments in Wanganui, including: ambling round the beautifully manicured and landscaped reserve gardens surrounding the Virginia Lake; watching the swans swanning around on the peaceful waters; being entranced by the myriad of tweeting, squawking,  feathered friends that we found in the park’s Avery; being dazzled by the brilliantly coloured blooms in the Winter Garden; admiring the creativity and talent of glass artist Kate as she twirled and blasted her glass embryo into submission in her glass-blowing studio; climbing to the top of the dizzying heights of the Durie Tower – a memorial tower that had extensive views of Wanganui town and river; locking both sets(!) of keys in the car.

But the highlight had to be a trip up the Wanganui River Valley, skilfully navigated by Jenny in her large 4-wheel drive vehicle. We explored a restored, historic, water-driven flour mill, used by the early settlers to mill the locally grown wheat which they grew along the banks of the river – a more unlikely place to grow grain, you never saw. We were fascinated by the complex, belt-driven machinery installed on two levels, which ingeniously ground and graded the final product. Jenny intended to take us to a friend’s Guesthouse called “The Flying Fox”, which is accessed by the river, or a flying fox – a power-driven gondola hung below a wire stretched across the river. There were several beautiful buildings to be seen but alas, the husband was not at home and we were unable to cross. This friend is now the new Mayor of Wanganui and Jenny was her campaign manager. You gotta love New Zealand politics. Thank you for the novel experience Jen!

Wanganui to Wellington:  With the front wheel-bearing grumbling, we arrived in Wellington in time for Guy Fawkes and the renowned Waterfront Fireworks display. We walked from Andre’s student flat on the hill near the University, with some of his flat-mates and were treated to a wondrous 20 min spectacle, complete with synchronised music and awed appreciation from the assembled multitude. We survived a freezing night in the flat by cuddling close and a couple of days later moved to the luxurious house of friends Peter & Carol for 8 days. During this time, we walked to the Wind Turbine above Wellington; out to the Lighthouse on the headland; through the abundantly planted Botanical Gardens, just 50 metres up the hill, and many times down to and around the city central. Yes, we’re getting used to walking – preparing for China – but fortunately the steep Cable Car helped us out a few times, stopping less than 100metres from the large, interestingly designed house that Andre lives in.

The wind turbine was very impressive when standing directly beneath it as the sheer size of these constructions is deceptive from a distance. You would swear that there was a motor driving those huge blades around and it is astounding to witness the raw power of Nature producing 500kw of electricity with such ease. It did occur to me at the time, that standing aligned with those rapidly moving blades was probably not a good place to be though.

 Peter had been given spare tickets to the annual fashion show for the University Design students, so we dressed up and were front row guests at an astoundingly professional showcase of contemporary fashion, modelled and choreographed by the students. We felt quite chuffed, rubbing shoulders with some of the cream of Wellington society.

We also had a chance to get into the Christmas spirit by being part of Carol and Peter’s festive Christmas tree decorating celebration.

We shared a last meal with Andre (his birthday) and his flatmates, slept for a few hours and Andre did us the honours of getting us to the airport at 3.00am to fly to Sydney at 6.00am - 3 hours now required for check-in procedures. It was a tearful departure, and the worst part of the trip for Karen, but the flight was short and sweet and we knocked up Tony, Greg’s brother by 08.30am that morning.

Tags: taupo, victoria park, wanganui, wellington, wind turbine

 

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